Monday, August 31, 2009

Mesa Verde - Spring Trip to Utah

Mesa Verde is one of my favorite National Parks. I love the cliff dwellings and the mystery that surrounds them and the people that once inhabited them.
You get to hike down into several of the ruins.
It is just amazing how they are built into the caves - using any rock and rubble that happened to be in the way.

It is fun to walk in the carved steps that they used as hand and toe holds.
There are several tall ladders to climb too.

It was fun to see the park with cousins. When we went there last time with Kari and Jeremy, they didn't have any kids yet - now they have three!
There are a few short and narrow spaces to squeeze through, but we all made it!

Of course the kids got their junior ranger badges at this park too.
When I was a kid, we used to run all over and through this ruin and play tag...but they don't let you do that anymore. Chris and I were very disappointed.
We saw a lot of amazing things, though, and it was fun to see them with family!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spring Trip to Utah - Arches

We have been to Arches several times before, but I never tire of its beauty.

This is us at the Delicate Arch lookout point. In the background you can see the arch.
Notice my dad's new camera. This was one reason why we visited all these parks - he wanted to try it out on different scenery.
We hiked up to Delicate Arch with Mike and Alicia. Dad and Jeremy went ahead, because they didn't want to hike as slow as the kids. They were trying to get pictures of the arch in certain light.

We made it up to the arch and took some cool pictures. My kids were the only kids up there. People kept making comments about how they couldn't believe my kids made that hike, and what a brave mom I was to take them on it. I guess I didn't think twice about it, because I made the hike several times myself as a child. I think the trend is to underestimate what kids can do these days.
It really freaked people out that I took my kids over to the arch itself. (especially my brother-in-law Jeremy...he kept saying how glad he was that his kids didn't come on this hike) It is not as dangerous as it looks. Again, I did it as a kid...

The kids got their Junior Ranger awards at this park too.
This is one of the window arches. The southern one I think. Benjamin didn't take this hike with us because he was sick, so he stayed in the car with Grandma.
I think this one was Turrent arch
It is such beautiful scenery at Arches, but much too hot in the summer! (which is why we went in the spring this time)
I think this is Double arch.

This was our hike out to Landscape Arch.

If you look close, you can make out Landscape Arch behind the kids.

I do not remember the name of this arch, but it was on the way to Sand Dune arch (which I didn't get a picture of, because my dad took our picture there) I would highly recommend Arches. It has a lot to do and see, even if you don't take the long hikes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spring Trip to Utah - Canyonlands

Our next part of the trip was to meet my family down in Monticello, to tour the National Parks and Monuments down in Southern Utah and Colorado. (Alan's parents graciously agreed to let us use their house to stay in, and we are very thankful to them for that) I am going to post my pictures by park, and not in chronological order, because we bounced around back and forth each day of the trip. Also, be aware that this is just a small sampling of pictures - not necessarily the best ones - because when the trip was over and we all combined our pictures, we had 9 DVD's full of pictures. (yes, you read correctly, dvd's) I haven't even started to go through them all. I also shot rolls of film. So, this is from what was actually on my digital camera.
None of us had ever been to Canyonlands before, so we were excited to see what it was like. I had only been to the Needles Overlook and Newspaper Rock. This picture was taken on our way up to Dead Horse Point.
This picture was taken on the Pothole Point trail in the Needles area.
Jeremy and Baydon took this hike with us, but Kari stayed home with a sick Natalie. (They drove out from Kentucky to see the parks with us) The kids really enjoyed liked this hike.
There were lots of fun caves and rock formations.
The kids completed the Junior Ranger program at each of the parks we visited.
Even Benjamin got his official "Don't Bust the Crust" ambassador pin. (Don't step off the trail and ruin the dirt - it's alive!)
The kids didn't like having the sun in their eyes, but it made for the best scenery pictures sometimes.
We hiked down to Mesa Arch at the Island in the Sky area.
It was a pretty arch, with a nice view through it. My parents took a nice family picture of us in front of it, but it is not on my camera :)
Poor Benjamin got sick while we were down in Southern Utah. He had stomach problems and loose bowels. It made hiking miserable for him and me, but he really was a trooper, and didn't ask to be carried much.
We saw lots of pretty scenery...
and learned a lot about the trees and plants.
Benjamin didn't want to miss anything, but he just wasn't feeling well. Everytime we stopped to take pictures or rest, he laid down.
But if the girls started climbing rocks are exploring, he was up and right behind them again. I wish I could say it was a one day thing, but it wasn't. The problem was that he would start out feeling fine in the morning (and not want to miss anything), but wear down as the day went on.
So, we kept him hydrated, let him sleep when he fell asleep in the car, and brought extra clothes and supplies for the "accidents". Poor little guy!